Following a long-running campaign by the Labour frontbench, the Government has conceded to subject the Prevent process to an independent review. The 2017 Labour Party Manifesto promised to “review the Prevent programme with a view to assessing both its effectiveness and its potential to alienate minority communities”.
The House of Lords inserted an amendment into the Bill for an independent review to be set up within six months on 17 December 2018. In the House of Commons during the Consideration of the Lords Amendments to the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill, Security Minister Ben Wallace stated that given that the post-legislative review of the Prevent programme is due in early 2020, this is now the time to review Prevent, its operation and its effectiveness.
Nick Thomas-Symonds MP, Shadow Minister for Security, responding to the recent announcement for an independent review, said “Prevent is supposed to keep our people safe, yet it isn’t working. While nobody can question the commitment of those who work to try and deliver the policy on the frontline since it became statutory duty – we know from ground-level reports, Prevent is causing a massive strain and rift with key stakeholders and is often dubbed draconian.
“This review is surely an acceptance that many have lost faith in Prevent: various communities, academics and senior officials have all criticised the government for its poor implementation of the strategy.
“The aims of safeguarding, gathering information, and community cohesion have not always sat easily together. Nor can we expect local services, continually cut back by Tory austerity, to deliver the welfare community facilities we need without appropriate funding. It is now crucial that this review is wide-ranging and robust.”